California Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest legislation signing, a bill making the first year of community college free to California students, marks the next step in the effort to eliminate state college fees.
Leading by San Francisco’s example to waive all fees towards classes at its city college, Brown signed Assembly Bill 19 on Friday, Oct. 13, which will waive all fees towards the first year of enrollment at any of California’s junior colleges for full-time students.
California residents currently pay $46 per college unit, which can add up to $1,400 annually for full-time students. The new bill will eliminate that and seek to encourage what is estimated to be 19,000 people eligible for the fee waiver to take the enrollment initiative.
The bill, proposed by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), faced concerns from Brown’s financial department which calculated the bill’s cost to reach $31 million annually to cover fees they felt were unnecessary.
However, Brown signed the bill in hopes that more students will arise and enroll in local California community colleges.
The newly signed legislation comes after a recent decline in college enrollment and a drop in college-educated workers.
Earlier this year, Brown declined a bill to make community college wholly free in California, but this new bill seems to be the first step on a bridge to free higher education.